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A Tumor of the Right Temporal Lobe

author image Alison Smith
Alison Smith is an academic from Toronto, who has six years of experience publishing scientific manuscripts and abstracts within “Brain Research” and “The Society for Neuroscience.” Smith obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, and held doctoral funding from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
A Tumor of the Right Temporal Lobe
Doctors are examining brain scans. Photo Credit: vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images

The temporal lobes of the brain are located just above each ear. These lobes are associated with auditory perception, visual object recognition, sensory input storage, social behavior, emotion and memory. The lobes are divided into the dominant left lobe and non-dominant right lobe. The function of the right lobe is slightly different than the left; therefore, tumor growth within the right temporal lobe will present with different symptoms than a tumor within the left temporal lobe, according to Humbolt State University.

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Right Temporal Lobe

The right temporal lobe, located just above the right ear, functions to perceive melodic sound, facial expressions, voice intonation and social cues. It is considered the non-dominant temporal lobe, according to Humbolt State University, and if damaged, personality completely changes and social interaction with others becomes difficult.

Tumor Types

Tumor growth within the temporal lobe can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are non-cancerous growths; they do not spread or invade other regions of the body. Benign tumors are a concern if they grow in size and obstruct normal tissue function. Malignant tumors are cancerous growths and are very serious due to their destructive nature, according to MedlinePlus.


Symptoms of a right temporal lobe tumor include difficulty discerning vocal intonation, facial expression, reading and the sound of music. Social skills deteriorate, as well as the capacity for visual imagination. Without the ability to discern social cues, like voice intonation or facial expression, behavior becomes erratic and inappropriate. Patients also experience increased anxiety and fearfulness, according to Humbolt State University.


Either a CT scan or MRI obtains diagnosis of a tumor within the brain. A CT scan, or computed tomography scan, is a series of pictures of the brain. In some instances a dye may be injected into a vein to highlight abnormal growths in the brain.

An MRI, or magnetic resonance image, provides detailed pictures of the brain using a high-powered magnet. A special dye is sometimes used to highlight tumor tissue, according to The University of Pittsburg.


Treatment depends on tumor type, location and size, and can include surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, according to The University of California, San Francisco. Mood stabilizing medication is also used to control inappropriate social behaviors, according to Humbolt State University.

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